It took a goal of unreasonably high quality, a little bit of adversity, and a lot of work, but Real Monarchs went from the winless newcomers to USL standouts in short order tonight, beating 2015 USL champions Sacramento Republic, 1-0.
Max Rauhofer scored the sole goal of the outing with an outstanding flick past sending the goalkeeper the wrong direction as he somehow read Fito Ovalle's low, driven shot that seemed destined to trickle over the midfield line. It was John Stertzer's cross that created the opportunity, with Riley McGovern and Ricardo Velazco combining for a quick restart of play from a throw-in.
Both Rauhofer and Monarchs debutant Emery Welshman, fully recovered from injury, had further chances to add to the goal tally, as they were sprung clear past strangely narrow defense. It was as honest a representation of the woes a team can experience defending the 4-3-3 as anything.
Monarchs, tasked with finding their first win, had the services of Lalo Fernandez and Phanuel Kavita again, both of whom were required during RSL's injury crisis. John Stertzer, suspended for the next RSL match anyway, was available on the bench, and it was his arrival that heralded a more positive outlook for the home side.
In a slight surprise, Alec Sundly started in the midfield for captain Lucas Baldin, but with a midweek match, the hard-working Brazilian midfielder was rested. He did enter the match late on and helped secure the victory.